Friday, November 21, 2008
SATURDAY-22 NOVEMBER 2008-SUPERPANEL IS A MONOPOLY, SAY SCRAP METAL DEALERS
SUPERPANEL IS A MONOPOLY, SAY SCRAP METAL DEALERS
The Sabah Scrap Metals Recycle Association (SSMRA) wants the State Government to abolish the controversial decision to appoint a Government-linked company (GLC) as the State’s sole exporter of scrap metals and recyclable materials.
SSMRA President Jennifer Hiew said this would allow her members to continue to trade freely.
“This is simply because the GLC will eventually determine the ‘market price’ (of scrap metal and recyclables) and therefore, we will be at its mercy or full control and ultimately be forced out of business,” she said here yesterday.
She was responding to a recent statement by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor that the Government would never force scrap metal dealers in the State out of business.
While noting that the Minister had duly lnformed the local authorities to allow for the renewal of the scrap metal dealers’ trading licence until such tine when the new mechanism to issue the licence is implemented, she contended that as long as the decision stays, their fundamental right to trade freely and legitimately still comes under threat by such a move.
“This is particularly true when the Minister concerned had stated very clearly in his statement that the Government has every intention to control the export of scrap metals from Sabah,” Jennifer said.
She also refuted Hajiji’s claim that the appointment of Superpanel Sdn Bhd as the sole purchaser and exporter of scrap metals was to address the rampant theft of metal throughout the State, saying it is simplistic and misguided.
“What sort of guarantee is there that the problem of rampant metal theft in the State would be a thing of the past with the appointment of the GEC as the sole purchaser and exporter of scrap metals?
“Can this GLC guarantee that they will perform better than the Police in preventing someone from stealing all those items made from steel and metal? Are they also going to sieve through every single piece of scrap metal that they purchase to determine which is stolen and which is not, before they export the metal?” she questioned.
She said the decision to appoint Superpanel as the sole agent is unfair to the Association’s members as it is monopolistic in nature and would eventually force them out of business.
She noted that the Association had recently gone to the State Legislative Assembly building and handed over a memorandum to all the elected representatives and Cabinet Ministers, including Hajiji himself.
The memorandum highlights scrap metal dealers’ plight and urged the State Government to revoke its decision to appoint a sole purchaser and exporter of scrap metals in the State, said Jennifer .
Superpanel, a new wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (SHTDA), was appointed as the sole exporter of scrap metals and recyclable materials following a State Cabinet decision on Aug 6 this year to curb metal thefts in the State.
A directive was issued to all local authorities in the State on Sept 26 instructing them to stop renewing existing trading licences and issuing new ones after Nov 1, and requiring all applicants for scrap metal trading licences to first register with Superpanel.